January 2012 Visa Bulletin: EB2 India and China Zooms Forward

It was widely expected that the U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for January 2012 would show advancement in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) cutoff dates for India and China. In fact, the Visa Bulletin surprised many, with EB2 cutoff advancement to January 1, 2009, as we announced to MurthyDotCom visitors in our NewsFlash, posted December 9, 2011. This significant movement will allow many additional individuals to proceed to the final stage in their quest for permanent residence (“green card” status). This summary of the EB categories in the January 2012 Visa Bulletin is for the benefit of MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.

Summary of Visa Bulletin

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

This category is current for all countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

This category remains current for all countries of chargeability, with the exception of India and China. The cutoff date in EB2 for India and China is advancing by almost ten months, to January 1, 2009 for both India and China, during the month of January 2012.

EB2 for India and China has experienced rapid cutoff date movement throughout fiscal year 2012 (FY12). The U.S. Department of State (DOS) indicated earlier that cutoff date movement would continue in January and February 2012. Initial projections, however, indicated less extreme advancement of the cutoff dates.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

EB3 shows slight movement throughout the category in January 2012. The cutoff date for the category of all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as for Mexico and the Philippines, is moving by half a month, to February 1, 2006. India’s cutoff date is inching forward by only a week, to August 8, 2002. China’s cutoff date is moving to October 15, 2004.

Other Workers’ Category

The EB3 other workers’ category shows advances for the categories of all chargeability areas except those listed, the Philippines and Mexico, with a new cutoff date of February 1, 2006. China’s cutoff date remains stagnant, at April 22, 2003. India’s cutoff date moves to August 1, 2002.

Employment-Based Fourth (EB4) and Fifth (EB5) Preferences

These categories remain current for all countries of chargeability.

Explanation of Movement of Priority Dates

The forward movement of dates is good news for many who have been waiting since the autumn of 2007 for EB2 dates to become current again. The priority dates (PDs), or cutoff dates, in each visa bulletin are established based on estimates of the supply of visa numbers and the demand for those immigrant visa numbers. The DOS determined that it was necessary to move the EB2 India and China cutoff date significantly forward in January 2012, as the advancement of the date in the prior few months resulted in fewer I-485 filings than expected. Future movement of the cutoff dates will depend on when and to what extent the volume of I-485 case filings materializes to establish a new cutoff date.


As explained above, and in numerous, previous NewsBriefs available on MurthyDotCom, the advancement of the EB2 India and China cutoff dates is intended to fill the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) case pipeline, so that there will be sufficient approval-ready cases before the end of FY12. The USCIS requires approximately 4 to 6 months to process adjustment-of-status (I-485) cases. Thus, in order for cases to be ready for approvals before the end of FY12 (September 30, 2012), the I-485s must be filed many months earlier. The DOS is advancing the EB2 cutoff dates for India and China as needed to permit many more I-485 filings. We at the Murthy Law Firm will continue to share with our valued readers useful information regarding visa bulletin developments and reliable predictions based on DOS pronouncements, as they are made available.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.